DS

North America

Astro Boy

by Zachary Miller - December 18, 2009, 5:51 pm PST
Total comments: 3

3

Come and experience Astro Boy's massive identity crisis.

I've always liked to think of Astro Boy as being the proto-Mega Man. The little dude's got an arm canon and rocket boots, so he's basically the Blue Bomber with a Rush adaptor. You may also remember that Treasure made a wonderful Astro Boy game for the Game Boy Advance several years ago that pegged the original anime superhero in a bullet-hell horizontal shoot-'em-up. Astro Boy: The Video Game, adapted from the recent poorly received CG film, can't decide what it wants to be. It tries on all sorts of hats, including traditional platforming, beat-'em-up, horizontal shooter, and Gunstar Heroes-like boss fights, but manages to mangle them all. Astro Boy: The Video Game is an abomination that you should avoid.

The story is unessential. A scientist creates a robotic version of his dead son. The robot realizes he's a robot, runs away, and hijinks ensue. Most often, these hijinks take place on a side-scrolling battlefield. Every five feet, a little stop hand flashes on-screen and Astro Boy is forced to battle a million robots before the go hand flashes. Astro Boy has an arm canon, but seems to prefer fisticuffs. Imagine any other arm-canon hero doing this: Samus Aran, Mega Man, Ash from the Evil Dead series. It's absolutely asinine, and doesn't work in practice. For one thing, it's dreadfully boring. You just pound on the punch and kick buttons until everything's dead. Some enemies shoot bullets at you that you simply can't avoid because you can't duck or block.

Oh, wait, there's also the ability meter. Each enemy you kill drops an orb. Collect enough orbs and a series of icons on the touch screen light up. The more orbs you collect, the more icons light up. These are single-use powers that include, but are not limited to, a defense boost, an offense boost, completely healing yourself, and using your arm canon (once). You can either double-tap an icon to use the corresponding power or tap the icon, then press A. Either way, it's time-consuming and awkward. Aside from that, using a power drains all or most of your orb meter, so you have to start from scratch to power up another ability. The only ability you can use at all times is your rocket boots, which function as a double-jump. Given their single-use attributes, you'd think that the arm canon and machine gun (which comes out of Astro Boy's ass—and he looks surprised) would be insta-kill weapons that clear the screen. They do not, thus blunting their effectiveness. The only power you'll be using consistently is the one that takes the longest to charge—the heal ability.

After fighting endless waves of robots, you'll come to infuriating platforming sections with moving floors and lots of spikes. You will die often in these areas, because the jumping and rocket-jumping are so imprecise that you will usually land on the spikes. This is as much a consequence of the jumping as the constantly zoomed-in camera, which denies any view of nearby dangers. Sometimes, the spikes merely damage you. Other times, they kill you outright. I especially love the rising and falling platforms that pass by turrets. Because you cannot duck or block, you just get shot outright for the entire ride.

After reaching an entirely arbitrary end point, you come to a horizontal shooter section. Astro Boy himself takes up an extraordinarily large portion of the screen. Enemies shoot his gigantic frame with wild abandon, and there's often very little you can do to avoid their shots. Imagine a bullet-hell game with Optimus Prime in vehicle form! It is here, and only here, that Astro Boy uses his arm canon as his default weapon.

There are some boss fights, too, and there's just something wrong about the idea of punching and kicking a giant mechanical threat instead of standing back and shooting your arm canon from a safe distance. I think you can see where things go wrong pretty quickly.

Do yourself a favor and hunt down the GBA game if you have an Astro Boy craving. Just ignore this pile, which is 100 percent pure, uncut shovelware.

Score

Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
4 5 4 3 1 3
Graphics
4

Sprite-based graphics with endlessly repeating enemies and palette swaps to indicate power. Backgrounds are devoid of detail or ambience., and Astro Boy looks wimpy.

Sound
5

Music and sound effects are present, but they are very generic.

Control
4

Astro Boy has terrible controls, with especially horrible ability activation and combat.

Gameplay
3

You get shot a lot because your big-ass character can't block or dodge in any way. Then, you repeat the same level sequence a million times, and eventually punch and kick the giant mechanical bosses.

Lastability
1

The game lasts a few hours, but the gameplay is so messed up that you won't want to endure it. There are no unlockables, either.

Final
3

Astro Boy: The Video Game is one of the worst games I've played all year. If you lust for Astro Boy-related gaming, track down a copy of Treasure's excellent Astro Boy: The Omega Factor for GBA instead.

Summary

Pros
  • Hey, what's this machine gun sticking out of my ass?
Cons
  • Awful combat
  • Borderline useless abilities
  • Horrible platforming
  • Terrible shooter sequences
Review Page 2: Conclusion

Talkback

UltimatePartyBearDecember 19, 2009

Quote from: Halbred

You may also remember that Treasure made a wonderful Astro Boy game for the Game Boy Advance several years ago that pegged the original anime superhero in a bullet-hell horizontal shoot-'em-up. Astro Boy: The Video Game, adapted from the recent poorly received CG film, can't decide what it wants to be. It tries on all sorts of hats, including traditional platforming, beat-'em-up, horizontal shooter, and Gunstar Heroes-like boss fights, but manages to mangle them all. Astro Boy: The Video Game is an abomination that you should avoid.

This is an odd comparison.  Maybe you hated them so much that you've blocked the memory, but the GBA game had levels other than the horizontal shooter ones.  There was a whole lot of beat-'em-up action that worked similarly to what you describe in this new game, as well as some stuff that could be called platforming, and the boss fights... well, it's Treasure.  It kinda sounds like someone tried to copy Treasure's design, but lacked Treasure's magic touch.

KDR_11kDecember 19, 2009

Anything Treasure does is a mishmash of tons of genres, the only difference here is that instead of Treasure it's High Voltage making the game.

Also the character Astro Boy has always been about melee, he has that million horse power engine after all (hence "the Mighty Atom"). The beam cannon and butt MG were super moves in the GBA version too, only the finger laser could be fired at will and it was a sidearm at best.

Quote:

There are some boss fights, too, and there's just something wrong about the idea of punching and kicking a giant mechanical threat instead of standing back and shooting your arm canon from a safe distance.

Never watched anime, eh? For some reason swords and other melee weapons are ALWAYS stronger than ranged attacks in those.

Yeah, just hunt down a copy of Omega Factor for GBA and be done with it. Seriously.

Share + Bookmark





Genre
Developer ART Co.

Worldwide Releases

na: Astro Boy
Release Oct 20, 2009
PublisherD3Publisher

Related Content

Got a news tip? Send it in!
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement